These Birds Love to Talk ... But They Need You to Advocate for Them
We all know the reasons pet stores shouldn't sell dogs and cats--and the better ones don't. But birds bred for sale, especially those sold in stores, suffer greatly too.
Birds are intelligent and highly social beings. They need to be with other birds or at minimum, a loving, attentive human. Sadly, most pet store parrots live alone in cages, where they experience extreme despair. Think how you'd feel in solitary confinement 24/7!
Parakeets fare a little better; they're usually caged with others. But they start their lives in a very cruel way, in breeding facilities comparable to puppy mills.
And like any bird, all parrots, large and small, were born to fly. What could be more joyful than a bird soaring above the treetops. They can't do that in a cage. It's like living your life in shackles.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Urge the petshops in your community to stop selling birds. Don't just email; make your voice heard. Visit the store manager. Call the district manager and the corporate president if the store is part of a regional or national chain. Ask other caring people to do the same. You can also create a Facebook page for this cause, but make it clear to friends: Posting "awww, poor birds" to your timeline isn't going to help. Taking action will.
Meanwhile, make sure the birds are at least treated as humanely as possible. Though some have extensive vocabularies, they still can't advocate for themselves! Be their hero. Don't let them suffer. Whenever you visit a petshop, stop by the bird room and:
~ Check to see if the water and food bowls in every cage are clean and filled. If they aren't, call the store manager over and ask him or her to take care of the bowls while you wait. Don't leave until it's done. Every living being deserves ample, clean water and food. Those confined to cages are totally dependent on humans for both.
~ Observe the birds: Whether grooming themselves, playing or moving about the cage, they should be active. According to wildlife rehabililtator Lorraine Nicotera (www.cottonfeathers.org), a bird who sits too quietly with feathers puffed out may be sick. Politely bring this to the store manager's attention.
~ Then check back in a day or two. If the bird you're concerned about is gone, ask where he is. If he's in the cage but still looks sick, talk to the manager again; and if conditions don't improve in a few days, report it to and follow up with your local SPCA. Don't leave the bird in distress. Don't expect him to make sure his needs are met. He can't.